10 Bizarre North Korean Conspiracies

North Korea is the subject of much speculation The deliberately isolated dictatorship keeps many secrets behind its closed borders

Consequently, it is is easy to underestimate just what it is capable of Here are 10 Bizarre North Korean Conspiracies – that may or may not be true… 10 BIZARRE NORTH KOREAN CONSPIRACIES 10 One Of Our Directors Is Missing Since it was established, Koreans have crossed the tightly controlled border in both directions In 1978, the world was shocked when the Orson Welles of South Korea and his film star wife went north to work for Kim Jong-il They swore allegiance to the state and travelled to international film festivals, publicly stating how great was their new homeland

In 1986, they escaped from one of these festivals into the welcoming arms of Uncle Sam They revealed that Kim had never asked them to come north – he’d kidnapped them As a film lover, Kim had been dismayed by the repetitive and dull North Korean film industry He decided to inject new life into it with South Korea’s greatest director They said Kim kept them in prison for five years on a diet of bark and grass until they agreed to make his movies, including the North Korea version of Godzilla

Kim Jong-il said they defected to the north, voluntarily 9 Room 39 Central Committee Bureau 39 of the Workers’ Party of Korea, or Room 39, is a top secret organization based in Pyongyang Its purpose is to maintain the personal fund for North Korea’s leaders, from Kim Il-sung through to Kim Jong-un It brings in at least half a billion dollars each year, which Kim uses to buy political support and fund his nuclear weapons program

The mystery to be solved is just how Room 39 makes its money The United Nations and The Washington Post are convinced it makes heroin, fake $100 bills and commits insurance fraud across the world It is also rumoured to run another strange North Korean plot… 8 Pyongyang Restaurants The illustrious chain of Pyongyang Restaurants has 130 branches in one dozen countries They are operated by the Haedanghwa Group, which is another name for the North Korean government

These restaurants offer a tasty sample of expensive North Korean cuisine, including dog meat and an aphrodisiac made from bears The performing staff are all North Korean, highly trained graduates from Pyongyang’s art college – so not that different to Western waiters That said, the staff have to live in the restaurant under the close watch of security agents, to stop them defecting The managers have to send at least $10,000 to the North Korean capital each year Experts think this is a key part of an international money laundering scheme

7 Sexy Cheerleaders If there’s one thing North Korea is good at, it’s cheerleading They are highly trained, highly inscrutable performers Apart from their many displays for the benefit of their Supreme Leader, perhaps their most exciting gig came at the 2018 Winter Olympics Unfortunately, it seems they are also forced to perform after the public display

According to a military musician who fled the North ten years ago, the cheerleaders are also sex slaves They have to attend official Politburo parties and provide sexual services Whether this happened at the Olympics is unknown 6 Hacking Away Recent years have seen a lot of high profile cybercrimes, and North Korea is the number one suspect

In 2016, they hacked the New York Federal Reserve Bank to withdraw $1 billion from the central bank of Bangladesh’s account They got away with $101 million In another attack, they closed off computers in 150 countries with ransomware, and brought down Britain’s national health service Most hacks are aimed at raising money for Kim Jong-un’s regime, in the form of Bitcoin However, the hacking spree properly started for a unique reason

In 2014, Sony Pictures had all of its sensitive data and executive emails leaked in retaliation for releasing a comedy about killing the glorious leader 5 Bitcoin Price Crash North Korea makes concerted efforts to steal Bitcoin because the cryptocurrency helps avoid international sanctions In December 2017, a single coin skyrocketed to become worth $17,000 Although its value naturally fluctuates, markets and investors alike were spooked when, a month later, Bitcoin’s value plummeted well below $10,000

At the same time as Bitcoin’s value soared, South Korea and China held a summit on how to contain North Korea Two weeks later, both countries started regulating cryptocurrencies, including bans and taxes Then the price of Bitcoin fell dramatically The Financial Times’ Matthew C Klein suggests the global price of Bitcoin dropped because of China and South Korea’s efforts to weaken a major source of North Korea’s income

Time will tell if this is true… 4 Missing Japanese Since 1977, thousands of Japanese citizens have mysteriously disappeared Adults and children alike vanished just a few feet from their house, alone on the beach, or from inside their cars without a sign of struggle Their cases remained unsolved for quarter of a century In 2002, Kim Jong-il said that only thirteen Japanese citizens were abducted, and eight of them had died

Japan managed to negotiate the return of the other five to Japan They revealed that they were kidnapped by North Korean agents and carefully tortured and brainwashed over many years to become loyal servants of the state Most experts think they were meant to be secret operatives The problem is, they were given no instructions or handlers So it is unclear what exactly North Korea is hoping to achieve

Are they spies, or saboteurs, or just bargaining chips for future negotiations? The abductees’ children are still in North Korea, along with at least 500 more kidnapped Japanese 3 False Alarms In January 2018, Hawaii went into panic when an emergency missile alarm was triggered For a brief time, it looked like North Korea had finally launched a nuke against the US

– but the crisis was soon over, when the Governor announced the alarm had been activated by mistake Two days later, Japan's NHK TV network sent out its own missile emergency alert It too was officially brushed off as a mere accident But journalist Katie Drummond suggests the proximity of these two events, in Kim Jong-un’s primary targets, is far too neat to be coincidental Both alarms may really have been tests to see how the populations of Japan and America would respond in a real attack

The benefit of such a test, as opposed to an organised drill, is that they give the government a truer impression if how well prepared they are – and don't contribute to public paranoia the same way Cold War drills did Then again, they could just have been mistakes 2 Secret Tunnels North and South Korea are separated by a demilitarised zone 250 kilometres long and four kilometres wide It has one neutral meeting point, heavily guarded by soldiers who are close enough to say hello

But there are secret tunnels running underneath the DMZ They are big enough for 30,000 soldiers at a time to come through South Korea has stumbled across four so far But these could just be decoys – there are probably many more tunnels under construction North Korea says the tunnels were built to mine coal

1 Target: Yellowstone David Meade has spent years trying to convince the world we will be destroyed by an inevitable collision with the planet Nibiru More recently, he’s also examined North Korea’s missile testing He concludes that North Korea’s nuclear program has a very specific target in mind: Yellowstone National Park Meade argues that North Korea’s nuclear tests are geared towards finding the optimum yield to dislodge the rock cap over the Yellowstone Caldera

As an active supervolcano, a nuclear blast could trigger Yellowstone’s eruption If it did, it could unleash 1,000 gigatons of matter into the atmosphere The ash cloud would choke the Pacific Northwest, block out the sun, settle four inches deep for hundreds of miles around Wyoming and destroy agriculture in the Midwest If Kim Jong-un wanted to make a single surgical strike to cripple the United States, Yellowstone would be the perfect target ENDBOARD

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